Mother Cabrini Shrine and Orphanage

Address20189 Cabrini Blvd., 5 mi. S.W. of Golden on Hwy 40.
QuadMorrison 1965
SectionS16, T4S, R70W
SourceState Inventory Form #30/02/0085, Hiwan Homestead Museum Library; Micelli, "Cabrinian Colorado Missions;" Interview, Sister Bernadette Cascinano, Mother Cabrini Shrine Administrator, 1997; Lomond, "Mt. Vernon Canyon Past to the Present."
OtherQueen of Heaven Orphanage Summer Camp, Mother Cabrini Orphanage Summer Camp
Initialdate1998-01-05 00:00:00-07
Latestdate2012-12-17 00:00:00-07
HistoryAfter Italian-born Francesca Maria established the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart in 1880, she arrived in New York City in 1889 to care for the immigrant orphans and poor. In 1900, most of the Italian workers in Colorado were employed in the mines and their ties to Catholicism were strained. At this time, Bishop Matz of Denver invited Mother Cabrini and the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart to Colorado. In 1903, she opened a school and orphanage in Denver. While picnicking in the mountains, she found a site suitable for a summer home for the orphans. However, there was one severe drawback -- lack of water. Mother Cabrini instructed the sisters to dig in a rock strewn gulch and they excavated a spring which has been flowing since. Later, rocks were hauled by donkey to the building location. Mother Cabrini soon left Colorado on other missionary travels and never saw the orphanage finished, which was not completed until after she died in 1917. The Sacred Heart Sisters built two barns, an icehouse, and living quarters of stone. The main house of three stories and 14 rooms was completed in 1914. It is still used for conferences and retreats today. In 1929, a grotto modeled after the Great Shrine of Lourdes in France, was built at the spring Cabrini discovered in 1912. It was improved upon by the Knights of Columbus in 1959. A 22-foot statue of Jesus Christ was erected at the summit of their land in 1954. More than 100,000 "pilgrims" climb the 373 steps to the statue annually. A new convent with a chapel was built in 1970. Mother Cabrini died in 1917 and was canonized in 1946. She established 75 convents, and 67 clinics, hospitals and orphanages. During her lifetime she recruited 3,000 women to the Sisters of the Sacred Heart. The Queen of Heaven Orphanage Summer Camp was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 14, 2000 (5JF.2212).